Review by pinballwizrd420
A good buy.
To start, I would like to let you know I will never give any game a score other than 1, 4, 7, or 10. A 1 indicates a game that should be skipped. A 4 indicates a game that's good for rent. A 7 indicates a game that is best to buy after the price has fallen because it is not worth full price. A 10 indicates a game that should be purchased and enjoyed, and is worth the full price of purchase, minus any DLC that you pay extra for.
To the review, then.
Dead Rising 2 is in the exact same vein as the original. You, the compelling protagonist, are thrust into a zombie infested population center with little more than the clothes on your back. You then proceed to hack and slash through zombies and psychopaths, as well as rescue fairly dim-witted survivors to develop your character as well as the plot line of the game. While this description seems cut and dry (as well as a bit boring), the truth is that the game is dynamic and enjoyable.
We'll start with the story, sans spoilers. You play Chuck Greene, ex-motocross star and distraught father or Katey. Katey's got a zombie bite, and can't live without a daily injection of the Big Pharma product Zombrex. This alone adds a few layers of depth, but the rabbit hole goes deeper as the game progresses. Chuck finds himself embroiled in a scandal, and thus must not only survive the obligatory 72 hours (it's actually 75 because some pregame stuff you have to do) but also use this time to clear yourself of said scandal. This is what brings the returning case-file progression into play. The cases themselves are well-executed (if you can stand the euphemisms and innuendo piled from floor-to-celing in this script) and well-spaced. This gives you enough time to save people, get Zombrex for Katey, and complete the story without being overwhelmed by the numerous missions that will pop up as time goes on. The voice acting is great in my opinion, and the pacing works for me. After everything is said and done, you have played through a compelling story complete with surprise, villainy, and edge-of-your-seat action. Additionally, overtime mode is back (yay!) and rearing to go. For its genre, this story fits well, but it's not on par with all-time greats like Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, FF12, or Halo.
Next we move on to the tasty meat of this game, the actual gameplay! And let me tell you it is fun and even addicting to a degree. Of course, you are always working against the clock, so let me recommend this: on your first playthrough or two, kill as few zombies as you possibly can. Use them instead to complete the missions i.e. save survivors and kill psychos (which are worth WAY more PP than zombie-killing) as well as get a sense of direction in the new map, which is larger and more diverse than the previous iteration. I know. I know. Every fiber of your being will scream with agony as I know you want to craft those devastating new combo items and get to the killitude. But stay your hand, tadpole, and kill the psychos instead. Speaking of them, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The fights themselves were, of course, challenging (you WILL die if you go into some of these without food), it was their insanity that compelled me to find and fight them. While some were truly twisted minds, some felt like cop-outs, and some even died in ways that were fairly low-key for the style of this game (they actually stoop so low as to have one killed by a single zombie, come on). Also, during the victory cinemas, psychos still didn't look bloodied or beaten at all after the fight, which I think would have been a good bit of icing on this cake. GOGO GADGET PARAGRAPH BREAK!
The controls are responsive for the game, and the auto-target works well on most ranged weapons (some are troublesome unless you go into first-person). Survivors follow you in a markedly more efficient manner, and you can now get a book to make them run faster (no I'm not telling you where it is you're on gameFAQs for chrissakes go find it). Some were a bit frustrating though, as even when I told them where to go they would still waste time fighting and then end up getting themselves surrounded (then, big surprise, I have to save them or they die. It's 2005 again). Of course this happened rarely so it wasn't a big deal. I was never wont for a weapon, as there was always a maintenance room close by with weapons and zombies carry knives, batons, pistols, and shotguns. Of course, overriding all of this is time itself, your ultimate enemy. This is the reason I said to fight as few zombies as you can early on. It is a huge time-waster, and you will miss certain missions if you haven't quickly completed other missions (I missed 10 survivors my first run due to this as well as certain psycho fights taking longer than planned). All in all though, the gameplay is balanced and very fun, even though I still wished for more from some of the psychos.
The soundtrack is great. I love Celldweller and listened to them long before this game's release, so imagine my glee when they start blaring Own Little World as I tear down one of the psychos, Antoine. There were even more of my celldweller faves in there, so I just ate it up.
The design is pretty good for the game. I have no major complaints, save for one. Zombrex. To save every last survivor, I have found you need at least 7 Zombrex. These things are hard as hell to find without a guide, all hidden in obscure places that you may or may not have time to visit. You can get some from survivors and psychos, luckily, and you can down a chunk of cash for some at a pawn shop (but srsly who wants to do THAT), but I thought it would have been beneficial to make Zombrex locations a bit more priority, rather than tucking them away in places you'd never think to look. Other than that, design was great. The additional modes, the crafting items, and the map layout and room placement was all great.
Overall, I would say this was well worth the full price of admission, and I am very satisfied with my purchase. You may not like this vein of zombie killing, but it sure appeals to me and I enjoyed it.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Dead Rising 2 (US, 09/28/10)
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